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spikey123
22nd April 2008, 09:25 PM
Kyphosis and weight lifting?

Hi i'm a 24 year old male with postural kyphosis who lifts weights two or three times a week. mainly i do squats and dumbell curls and also use the tricep bar for vertical rows. Anyway i am worried that lifting heavy weights could make my kyphosis worse. Is this likely or possible? Should someone with kyphosis be lifting weights? I find it hard to keep good posture whilst doing squats etc. Please help.

titch
23rd April 2008, 12:25 AM
Off the top of my head, I'm not sure what would be a good alternative exercise to squats, but I'm not surprised you're having difficulty with good form with them. In general there's no reason why you shouldn't do weights though, you just need to be more careful than the average person is all, and to concentrate more on good form.

As you say the kyphosis is postural, I'd recommend doing some research into stretching. The Complete Book of Stretching by Tony Lycholat has some good stuff in it, and he makes programme recommendations for various problems including postural kyphosis. At the least a decent book on stretching should help you work out if you have any specific areas (short hamstrings are fairly common in people with spinal curvatures of various sorts for example) which you need to work on, and even though it is unlikely to effect any particular change to the curvature, better and more balanced flexibility is a good thing and should make you more comfortable if nothing else.

Other than that, the main recommendations or suggestions I can make are to pass on what my gym instructor has told me, which is to make sure that I try to avoid exercises that place compressive force on the spine, as it's difficult for me to compensate for that, and my own particular thing which is that I firmly believe that if you've any sort of problem with good form, you should work *well* within your capacity. Ok, so I can pull 30kg on the 90 seated row machine, and I get not to look like a total girl (hey, I am a girl, but I used to take considerable pleasure in being able to pull 50kg where hardly any woman in the gym pulled more than 15-20kg - that was before my 2002 surgery though, and I don't get to the gym often enough to find out what a good regime could do for my strength these days), but it's just not a good idea. I can't maintain good form right from the start at that weight. At 20kg, I can start with good form but it's all gone to heck by the end of the first set. At 15kg, I can maintain good form and do 3 sets before I'm really ragged - and engaging the correct muscles means that I get more benefit from it than I would from the higher weight.

Basically though, as long as you don't over reach yourself in terms of what you're trying to do, I see absolutely no reason why you shouldn't continue to do weights. If you listen to it, your body will keep you from going beyond your capacity, and you'll be fine :-)

Writer
6th May 2008, 09:05 AM
I think I probably brought on or exacerbated my scoliosis, not noticed till mature adulthood, by unsupervised weightlifting. So I would answer your query as Yes, you could make your kyphosis worse with the wrong kind of weight-training routine. In her book on scoliosis, which shows over a hundred positive exercises, Christa Lehnert-Schroth cautions against certain kinds of exercises that she observed made a patient's case worse.

I agree with titch that stretching is in general a good thing. I had continuous back pain till a Schroth physiotherapist pointed out my tight hamstrings. That's an easy problem to control.

I would consult a physiotherapist for guidance, particularly if you can find one who knows a lot about scoliosis. Some of your (and my) muscles need to be stretched, others strengthened. A healthcare professional is best qualified to figure out which is which in your particular scoliotic configuration, and to tell you which exercises would be good and which detrimental.

And titch, you may be interested in Christa Lehnert-Schroth's article on physical exercises for post-ops. At her website http://www.schroth-skoliosebehandlung.de/ click on the link (left margin) "What can patients do?", then scroll down and download the PDF "Physiotherapy for scoliosis patients following spinal fusion therapy."